Yokohama F. Marinos retained their four-point lead at the top of the J.League thanks to a 1-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse on Saturday.
Marinos went into the match having posted a defeat and a draw in their last two outings, but did not look short of confidence as they raced into a fourth-minute lead.
Former Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura grabbed the early goal - his ninth of the season - to give his side a lead they refused to relinquish for the remainder of the match.
Reigning champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima remain Yokohama's closest challengers after they too managed to get back to winning ways on Saturday.
Goals from Hwang Seok-Ho and Hisato Sato secured a 2-0 home victory against Albirex Niigata, ending a run of five matches without a win and reclaiming second place from Urawa Reds in the process.
Sanfrecce have Ventforet Kofu to thank for their ascent up the table, after Hiroshi Jofuku's men picked up a credible away draw against Urawa.
Ventforet initially fell behind to Yuki Abe’s 51st minute penalty, but claimed a point as Naoki Aoyama plundered an equaliser in stoppage-time to move his side six points clear of the relegation spots.
Elsewhere in J.League, Kashima Antlers kept up the pressure on the top three with a win at Jubilo Iwata, despite almost squandering the points late on.
Shoma Doi, Davi and Takahide Umebachi gave the visitors a 3-0 lead going into the final 15 minutes before Sung-Dong Baek and Yoshiro Abe struck what ultimately proved to be consolation goals.
Below Kashima, Tokyo moved above Cerezo Osaka and into fifth with a victory away from home against Nagoya Grampus.
Aria Hasegawa and Nemanja Vucicevic got the goals in a 2-0 win that ensured the hosts would drop down to 10th place.
Meanwhile, rock-bottom Oita Trinita lost their 18th match of season against fellow strugglers Shonan Bellmare, as a Kosuke Taketomi brace kept the latter's hopes of avoiding the drop alive with a 2-1 victory.
In other matches, Sagan Tosu picked up a 1-0 victory at Kawasaki Frontale and Vegalta Sendai also triumphed on the road as they beat Omiya Ardija 2-0.
In Sunday's only clash, Yoichiro Kakitani scored a late goal to extend Cerezo Osaka's unbeaten league run to seven matches in a 1-1 draw against Kashiwa Reysol, who took the lead through Masato Kudo.
|Coach: Y. Higuchi|
for M. Saito 77'
for S. Tomisawa 87'
for S. Nakamura 90+3'
|Yedlin open to loan move|
|Tigres not scared of River trip - Ferretti|
|MLS Preview: Wright-Phillips, Lampard set to debut|
|´A draw is good for us´ - River´s Gallardo confident of Libertadores success|
|Di Maria poised for PSG switch - Blanc|
|Franjic: Bring on Bangladesh, Tajikistan|
|Van Gaal bemoans De Gea situation|
|MLS All-Stars 2 Tottenham 1: Kane stunner can´t spare Spurs|
|Manchester United 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Van Gaal´s defensive frailties exposed|
|Tigres UANL 0 River Plate 0: Visitors lose Gallardo in Copa Libertadores final first leg|
|Penedo parts ways with Galaxy|
|Benitez backs Mihajlovic, Milan to succeed|
|Barnetta joins Union in MLS|
|Allegri critical of Morata´s attitude|
|Franjic targets more A-League glory with City|
|Beto undaunted by Super Cup clash against Barca|
|Advocaat upbeat despite another Sunderland flop|
|McClaren praises Newcastle recruit Mitrovic|
|Payet will improve West Ham - Bilic|
|Pulis confirms interest in Lambert|
|Deila expects tough test in Baku|
|Drogba mobbed by Montreal Impact fans|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Ajax spurn two-goal lead at 10-man Rapid|
|Sunderland´s struggles continue as Doncaster cruise to win|
|Mahrez and Nugent on target in Leicester win|
|Mitrovic tastes debut defeat for Newcastle|
|Celtic 1 Qarabag 0: Boyata snatches crucial win|
|Jablonec 0 Copenhagen 1: Verbic cracker gives Danes the edge|
|Norwich sign Wisdom on loan from Liverpool|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Koeman plays down importance of Vitesse links|
|Schneiderlin keen to learn from experienced duo|
|Mandzukic´s maiden Juventus goal seals win in Poland|
|Fofana completes Bastia loan|
|Deila delighted that Gordon pledges future to Celtic|
|Grenier ruled out for four months|
|Rooney: United squad ready for title challenge|
|Messi and Neymar available for start of season|
|Szczesny seals Roma switch|
|Benitez cools Mourinho war of words|
|Filipe Luis vows to win back Atletico fans|
|Besiktas in negotiations over Gomez switch|
|Kishna seals Lazio switch|
|Diaby completes Marseille move|
|Platini is bad for FIFA - Prince Ali|
|Bilic keen to make further additions|
|Brady makes Norwich move|
|Southampton complete Caulker loan|
|Rummenigge feels Muller ´will never leave´ Bayern|
|Platini to stand in FIFA presidential election|
|Howedes to remain Schalke skipper|
|Albion sign Hull defender Chester|
|Lucescu defends Fred selection amid doping allegations|
|Fabregas still in love with Arsenal|
|Luis Enrique ´happy´ with Barca´s US trip|
|Mourinho optimistic over Cahill and Costa|
|River owe Tigres´ Esqueda - Mercado|
|Van Gaal expecting big season from Shaw|
|Begovic keen to challenge Courtois|
|Mourinho launches attack on Benitez|
|CONMEBOL ´knocked on a lot of doors´ to keep half-spot - president|
|America 0 Benfica 0 (3-4 on penalties): Primeira Liga champions finally win|
|Napoli striker Higuain ´untouchable´ - Gabbiadini|
|Arsenal´s friendly form will boost confidence - Wenger|
|Nagatomo-Melo swap possible, says agent|
|Chelsea 2 Barcelona 2 (4-2 on penalties): Courtois stars for Premier League champions|
|Eriksen calls for ruthless Spurs|
|Pulis praises Berahino attitude|
|Alderweireld confident of top-four finish|
|Villa ready for tough Spurs clash|
|West Ham edge win on Carrow Road anniversary|
|Kozak scores twice as Villa draw at Wolves|
|Stanislas brace leads Bournemouth past Yeovil|
|Watford slip to friendly defeat at Cardiff|
|Lukaku injury sours Everton win at Dundee|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Fenerbahce draw blank as Monaco impress|
|West Brom earn friendly win over Walsall|
|Vardy at the double as Leicester beat Burton|
|Atletico impress in win over Oviedo|
|Herrera sacked by Mexico after ´punch´|
|Gerrard, Keane and Bradley pull out of MLS All-Star squad|
|Marseille reach Diaby agreement|
|Sammer thrilled with Vidal´s winning mentality|
|Platini expected to launch FIFA presidency bid|
|Romanov sacked me over Barca snub - Korobochka|
|Villa complete Crespo capture|
|Wolfsberger v Borussia Dortmund: Bender praises ´fun but exhausting´ training|
|Okaka swaps Sampdoria for Anderlecht|
|Southampton v Vitesse: Fonte excited for ´dream´ sojourn into Europe|
|Bournemouth agree King compensation|
|West Ham v Astra: Kouyate confident West Ham can progress|
|Vidal completes Bayern switch, signs four-year deal|
|Fabregas calls for Champions League improvement|
|BREAKING NEWS: Filipe Luis completes Atletico return|
|Bayern to present Vidal|
|Wenger unfazed by Mourinho´s spending jibe|
|Pellegrini: Sterling will justify price tag|
|Cavani hit with two-match Uruguay ban|
|Bonucci to remain at Juve until 2020|
|No bids for Berahino - West Brom|
|Putin: Blatter deserves a Nobel prize|
|Howe: Swansea a benchmark for Bournemouth|
|New Parma to play in Serie D|
|Mata vows to hit the goal trail at United|
|Drogba ´perfect fit´ for Montreal|
|Berahino ´not yet´ ready for Tottenham - Irvine|
|Romero lauds caring Van Gaal|
|Jese flying at Real under Rafa|
|Sampdoria unwilling to pay €10m for Balotelli|
|Mourinho talks up Arsenal title chances|
|Hull sign Ryan Taylor, Sam Clucas|
|Kane, Pochettino hail MLS All-Star test|
|Di Santo sorry for swift Werder departure|